So there’s this guy I know who never seems to have any money. He works off and on, picking up jobs here and there, and in general is just barely getting by pretty much all the time. Which isn’t all that unusual, and hey – if it works for him, who am I to judge, right?
Sometimes, mere minutes after complaining to me about how broke he is, he’ll then suggest we go get drinks together. If I inquire as to how that’s going to work if he has no money, he’ll say something like “Oh, don’t worry, I have a plan.” Then we’ll get to the bar and he’ll buy one drink, drink it, and when it’s finished, he’ll stand around waving his empty glass and complaining loudly about how broke he is until someone takes pity on him and offers to buy him a drink. If that fails, he’ll bat his long eyelashes at everyone in the vicinity and just straight up ask them one by one to buy him a drink until someone does. Using this strategy, he can usually squeeze like five or six cocktails out of the $10 he brought with him. I find it kind of annoying, but it’s hard to fault him for doing it, since it seems to work out pretty well.
But it’s one thing if your strategy is just to depend on the charity of others when we’re talking about martinis. When you’re talking about the safety of 420,000 people, it’s a totally different story. Which is why I was particularly disturbed to read in the Trib yesterday Ron Dellums saying “Bringing in the Guardian Angels is part of the city’s comprehensive plan to provide additional security for Oakland’s business corridors.” Really?
I mean…really? Look, I’m reluctant to knock the Guardian Angels. Personally, they kind of creep me out. But it’s hard to condemn people who are willing to give up their time and spend their own money traveling somewhere they don’t even live to help out. Which brings up something else I don’t quite understand. What’s so special about the Guardian Angels? Why do we need people to fly here from San Diego or wherever to walk around commercial districts? Can we seriously not find 40 people in all of Oakland willing to walk up and down Grand Avenue for a couple hours at night carrying pepper spray?
Anyway, I certainly hope there’s an awful lot more to Dellums’s “comprehensive plan” than the Guardian Angels, and honestly, I don’t even understand why they’re part of our “plan” at all. I realize that this isn’t anything new, and I’ve complained before about how the Mayor’s approach to governing Oakland appears to rely on begging for charity and how that is the exact opposite of sustainability, which seems to be like, one of the Mayor’s 10 favorite words, but I swear, it really just drives me completely bonkers! I mean, if the City wants to hire private security for commercial districts, I’m down with that. If the City wants to employ its own unarmed force to patrol commercial districts, like they do in Philadelphia and Atlanta, fine. If the City wants to try to coordinate volunteer walking patrols of neighborhood residents, well, I guess that’s okay too. But I am completely baffled as to why anyone would think it’s okay to even suggest that safety for Oakland businesses should hinge on the presence of temporary volunteers from across the country. I just don’t get it at all.